It turns out elite figure skaters really love Instagram and they also love anime about elite figure skaters. I’m still not sure I really get Instagram as social media and I really just use it to post food pictures, but one of the coolest things about Yuri on Ice (among many other cool things) is the way that social media is actively used in the ways you’d expect a normal human being to use it. It’s just a small slice of the more interesting part of the show, which is presenting characters that feel like they could be real athletes doing stuff rather than anime people who happen to skate.
Natsume Yuujinchou was one of the very first shows I started watching weekly, way back in the summer of 2008, and this was based solely on the description and curiosity. It was a nice and slow show that was kind of melancholy. And then it got another season. And another. And another. And each time, we got to delve deeper into who Natsume was and we got to see him struggle and grow. It was nice. Years passed. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he’s back, same as ever, ready to heal us again.
What’s nice about Udon no Kuni is it’s about a thirty year old and he doesn’t look decrepit. In fact, he is still plenty moe and voiced by Nakamura Yuuichi, which is actually perfect. And to add further to his already impressive resume, we begin the story with him in the middle of an existential crisis of sorts. Extremely relatable. We don’t even need to add the tanuki child or udon to make this a good show, those are just bonuses on top. But if I were to be totally honest, this show did result in me planning for udon for lunch for that first week after the show started airing. The nice thing about udon is that, unlike its more notable cousin ramen, the soup actually doesn’t require a million years to prepare. It’s just soy sauce, sugar, and mirin, and if you’ve got some tofu or green onions or whatever else lying around, then you’re pretty much set. Oh and noodles; if you’re outside Japan you’ll probably want the frozen Sanuki udon rather than whatever dried noodle labeled udon is offered.
After some years, I sat down and took the time to read through Kii Kanna’s manga. The aesthetic was really my thing. The character designs were a bullseye for me, which when coupled with the fashion was something that baited me hard. It’s the kind of thing that resembles the feel of, say, Hyouka or High Speed. But what really got me after the aesthetic was the subject: the concerns and going-ons of the transient man in his late-20s. As I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten more difficult to find characters that you can really identify with because the typical character is a high schooler. It’s doubly hard to find such characters paired so perfectly with my aesthetic. So powerful is this combination that it’s already left significant impressions in my life.
Momokuri is a nice show about a boy and a girl in a healthy, respectful relationship. At the beginning, they’re a bit awkward as they get to know one another better and learn about each others’ strange but totally benign behaviour. Over the course of the show, they grow and trust each other more and more and Kurihara did nothing wrong. Everything is fine, nothing is wrong or illegal.